23rd December 2015
With everyone gearing up for a busy holiday period, may I take this opportunity to wish everyone associated with the Midland Football League a Merry Christmas. Hopefully, your wishes will all come true and the pitches will dry out for Boxing Day.
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday, December 19th
Stafford Town vs Hinckley AFC
A run of eight consecutive defeats in the league has seen Stafford Town slump to the bottom of the table. Visitors Hinckley have lost touch with the leading pack and cannot afford to drop too many more points, therefore, the game at Evans Park was set-up as an important fixture prior to the Christmas period. With the crowd swelled by a large travelling contingent, it was the home side that started the brighter belying their lowly place. In the 19th minute, Spencer Gunnell went through on the Hinckley goal but Tom Cross made a fine save. Gunnell hit the follow up perfectly, but somehow Cross tipped the ball onto the crossbar. The Reds were not to be denied and they took the lead in the 23rd minute. Gunnell again hit the crossbar with a header, but the rebound was nodded back in by Declan McMahon and Gunnell, this time, nodded home from inside the 6-yard box. At the other end, a cross from Lee Thomas evaded Richard Stone but rebounded off the post. Gunnell was proving a real thorn in Hinckley’s side and he was just off target with a chip. Greg Pearson saw a shot deflected forcing Stone into a decent save before Gunnell again forced Cross into a save as Town went into the break deservedly ahead.
The visitors started the second half on the front foot and Alex Morris should have done better with a header. Ryan Seal forced a save from Stone, but Hinckley were on level terms in the 55th minute. A corner from Marcus Jackson was not dealt with by the Town defence and Marco Adaggio was on hand to force the ball home. Within three minutes, Hinckley were ahead with the goal a near replica to the first. The Town defence again was all at sea from a Jackson corner and JJ Melligan was the recipient tapping the ball home. With the majority of the crowd now expecting a rout, the home side had other ideas and they drew level when Chris Gray headed a Gunnell cross into his own net. Stafford sub Craig Hulme forced another save from Cross, but the decisive action came at the other end midway through the second half. Pearson was pulled back in the act of shooting by Tom Green and the referee had no hesitation in awarding the penalty and showing a red card to Green. Seal made no mistake from the spot to give the visitors the lead. Hinckley took full advantage of the extra man but couldn’t find their way past the impressive Stone., the keeper making three excellent saves
to thwart Adaggio. Hinckley took all three points, but Town will have been encouraged by the performance particularly going forward. Considering the weather, this was an entertaining afternoon’s football and a good advert for the competitive nature of Division 1.
Hereford go into the holiday period with a 6 point lead over the rest after a 2-1 win at Lye Town, John Mills with the winner from the penalty spot. 2nd placed Alvechurch sent a statement of intent to the rest with an emphatic 4-0 win at 3rd placed Heanor Town. Heanor weren’t helped when Dan Booth was red carded, but the Church already had a firm grip of the game taking a 2-0 lead inside 13 minutes. Jordan Nadat sealed things with two late goals taking his tally to 14. Sporting Khalsa’s winning run came to an abrupt end at Hillsfield as Rocester ran out 4-2 winners. Rob Ritchie-Smith and Karl Demidh both scoring twice for the Romans. There was an 8 goal thriller at Castlecroft as AFC Wulfrunians and Quorn shared the spoils. Wulfs needed a stoppage time equaliser from Jake Sedgemore to get the point after Leavi Oshungbore had scored twice for Quorn. Loughborough University continued their fine form with a 4-1 win over Boldmere St Michales, Jason Davis with a brace. Long Eaton United moved up to 7th with a comfortable 3-0 win over Stourport Swifts, all the goals coming in the second half. An important win near the bottom for Brocton, 2-0 at Coleshill Town while Westfields eased their relegation worries with a 3-0 win over bottom club Continental Star.
Bromsgrove Sporting are up to 2nd after a 4-1 win at Coventry Copsewood, Nathan Walker scoring twice. Leicester Road could have gone second with a win bu they were beaten at Sheepy Road by Atherstone Town who are now in the top half of the table. Pilkington XXX are in 6th place after a narrow 2-1 win at Pershore Town, who remain in the lower reaches. Heath Hayes are 7th following a 3-0 win over Southam United at The Coppice. Hinckley AFC picked up a hard-earned 3 points at bottom club Stafford Town winning by the odd goal in five. A huge win at the bottom for Heather St Johns over fellow basement boys Bolehall Swifts. Swifts went into the break a goal to the good, but three second half efforts without reply moved Heather up to 17th.
We have new leaders of Division 2 as Droitwich Spa took over top spot following a 4-1 win over Feckenham. James Lemon was on target twice taking his season tally to 24. Rostance Edwards missed the chance to go 2nd, losing 3-2 at Sutton United who remain in 5th.
No denying the result of the day, the maiden win in the Midland Football League for AFC Solihull at the 14th time of asking. Grant Dodd and Adam jones were the heroes as the home side beat Inkberrow 2-0. Leamington Hibernian have a 4 point lead at the top after a 2-0 win at Badsey Rangers. FC Stratford are up to 5th with games in hand after they beat Burntwood Town 2-1, Joe Taylor coming off the bench to score twice.
Polymac Packaging League Cup
Coleshill Town are through to the quarter-finals of the League Cup after a resounding 7-2 win over Quorn at Packmeadow. Two goals in the opening 14 minutes sent Coleshill on their way and the goals were shared around 6 players.
Les James Challenge Cup
A Mark Bellingham double helped Paget Rangers into the quarter-finals after beating Fairfield Villa 3-2.
A handful of games in the Birmingham Saturday Vase and the third meeting in recent weeks between Barton United and Smithswood Firs. As in the two previous encounters, it was Firs who had the edge winning 3-1. Chelmsley Town, Knowle and Boldmere Sports & Social falcons all progressed with victories over Copsewood Coventry, Brinklow and Woodlands WMC respectively. AFC Wulfrunians welcomed a near full strength National North Nuneaton Town to Castlecrroft in the Birmingham Senior Cup on Tuesday and the three division gap proved to be too much as Nuneaton ran out 10-0 winners. It was only 2-0 at half-time, but Nuneaton ran riot after the break with 8 different players on the scoresheet.
Chris Gumery grabbed a hat-trick as leaders Coleshill Town extended their lead with a 4-0 win at Evesham United. High scorers on the day were Rocester who beat Brocton 6-2 at Silkmore Lane, Oliver Roome scoring four. In the only other game to take place, Romulus won 3-0 at Continental Star.
Under 21 Divisions
Bedworth United extended their lead at the top of the South Division with a 4-0 win over Kings Heath Concorde. In the North, Heath Hayes move up to 3rd with a 2-0 win at Basford United. In the Bowl, H.O.W. Academy beat Gornal Athletic by a solitary goal.
League leaders Hereford have a fantastic opportunity to extend their lead as they have home games on Saturday and Monday. On Boxing Day, they welcome neighbours Westfields to Edgar Street with a Midland Football league record attendance almost certain. On Bank Holiday Monday, struggling Coventry Sphinx are the visitors with their second away game of the weekend following a trip to Bardon Hill on Boxing Day. 2nd placed Alvechurch travel to 6th placed Highgate United on Boxing Day, which has the making of a titanic struggle. There is a local derby at the Aspray Arena on Boxing Day as high-flying Sporting Khalsa entertain FA Vase heroes AFC Wulfrunians. Walsall Wood make the short journey to Dales Lane to face bottom club Continental Star who are fast becoming adrift of the rest. Two sides with mixed form meet at pack meadow as Coleshill Town welcome Stourport Swifts. At Grange Park, Long Eaton United welcome Brocton with both sides showing much improved form in recent weeks. On Bank Holiday Monday, Heanor Town look to bounce back from their defeat by Alvechurch with a home game against in form Loughborough University. The return from injury of Karl Demidh has made a big difference to Rocester and they will fancy their chances of picking up three points at Dunkirk. Lye Town pushed Hereford close last weekend and they welcome Boldmere St Michaels to the Black Country. Shepshed Dynamo have maintained a top 6 spot for most of the season and they welcome to lowly Quorn to the Dovecote.
League leaders Coventry United welcome neighbours Coventry Copsewood to Sphinx Drive on Boxing Day with a healthy 7 point lead at the top of the table. 2nd placed Bromsgrove Sporting can close the gap for a few hours as they have an early kick off against Studley at the Victoria Ground. Two other early kick-offs are at Rene Road, as struggling Bolehall Swifts face Atherstone Town and at the TSA Sports ground as tenants Pilkington XXX host tenants Cadbury Athletic. There promises to be an excellent game at St Johns Park where Nuneaton Griff visit Hinckley AFC. Leicester Road have hopes of challenging for the title and they have a local derby with heather St Johns. On Bank Holiday Monday there is a Staffordshire derby as high-flying Lichfield City welcome bottom club Stafford Town to Brownsfield Park. There is a local derby in Warwickshire as lowly Southam United entertain Racing Club Warwick.
Only one game in Division 2 over the holiday weekend as Sutton United host Paget Rangers on Boxing Day.
Two games on Boxing Day and the big game is at the bottom as 2nd bottom Perrywood play host to bottom club AFC Solihull, who will be buoyant after their first win of the season last weekend. 3rd bottom Enville Athletic are on a poor run and they will hope to get something from the game as they welcome Northfield Town to Hall Drive. A chance to see some football on Sunday as in-form Alcester Town host Coventrians. On Bank Holiday Monday, leaders Leamington Hibernian host mid-table Shipston Excelsior. 2nd placed Smithswood Firs have games in hand and they have a home game against Burntwood Town. Redditch Borough are 3rd and they travel to Inkberrow while 4th placed Barton United are at home to Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons. FC Stratford could climb into the top three providing results go their way and they beat Badsey Rangers at home.